*This series of articles is on establishing sustainable rest and self-care routines.
You can learn about the tools to uncover what is important to you and ways to change your current situation to rest, reset and recharge easily, even amidst everyday chaos. The goal is to share how you can integrate rest and self-care practices into your busy days to allow you to enjoy guilt-free rest and set an example for your children that hustle culture is not the only way to be in this world.
In the second article, we talk about your worst-case scenario and your fears related to taking breaks. Creating a habit of sustainable self-care is as much about mindset work as it is about an actual practice of resting.
Acknowledging Your Worst-Case Scenario
In the Rest coaching framework, which I developed based on years of experience in professional risk management and life, my clients identify and acknowledge their worst-case scenario(s) during our initial stages of collaboration. It is a crucial foundation level each of us needs if we want to have more than just sporadic rest periods in life.
During our 1:1 work, I encourage moms like you and me to go wild and list as many fears and potential risks they have swirling in their heads related to taking a moment to rest. It helps by doing a brain dump. It clears space in your head and allows for planning later in the game.
The stories we all have. So, what are those risks and fears? I call them “stories.” They are as unique as each one of us and our children. And they are also similar. These “stories” of our attempts to take care of ourselves failed. Some stay the same as kids grow. Some change with us.
We keep them in our heads as proof that we are not there yet as moms to be allowed to take breaks. These “stories” are very real to us and valid ways of protecting our highly frazzled nervous system.
It is taking a bathroom break with a closed door and fearing that your child’s tantrum will be so loud the neighbors will call the cops.
Or deciding to read a book about anything else but the Big blue truck and thinking that is simply impossible, as the kids are in your face and looking with those beautiful puppy eyes to tell you they need something from you every moment.
Or it can be related to financial resources required to build breaks, as childcare is ridiculous in the Bay Area. And finding affordable camps during summer is a great recipe for a nervous breakdown.
Or as one of my friends (let’s call her Julia – a made-up name for a natural person) daringly wanted to step outside alone for a walk or a cup of something tasty. She got the child who could not be untangled from her, and the partner was so busy working they couldn’t distract the kid.
Have you ever experienced something similar?
I have had my fair share of stories. And that’s just in three years of having one kid. And these “stories” stop us from taking the leap of faith into space where we believe we deserve to rest—the magical space and time where we can actively practice resting without feeling guilty.
Want to DIY your worst-case scenario?
I pulled an exercise from my corporate past focused on process risk and control management. It sounds fancy, but it is simple. It can take as little as 5 minutes.
Step 1: do the brain dump I described earlier. Do it on something tangible – like paper or your phone notes app. Make it visual. Go as wild as you want.
The only rule – is no criticizing your thoughts.
Step 2: pick one or two worst-case scenarios from the list you have
Step 3: for each of these two (or one), brainstorm the possible mitigation strategies.
Let’s use an example: you want to read a book and need quiet time to make it happen.
What could be your creative ways of mitigating your child(ren)’s desire to be in your face?
Could it be asking for help in having someone else entertain the child(ren)?
Could it be telling your child(ren) that mommy wants to read her book instead?
Could you invite your child(ren) to read next to you for 5 minutes?
I’ll be honest. This exercise could start something interesting or a complete disaster because you have always been there for them, and now you want something else.
That’s why it has to do with mindset. And it is harder than just thinking about it. However, it is one of the first steps you must take if you want to DIY! If you don’t believe you deserve rest – it will be harder to create an opportunity to take those moments for yourself.
Support is vital.
Across time and space, the “stories” are many. We tell them to ourselves and others as we relate the “joys” of motherhood. We tend to look for solutions in communities and judge our “shortcomings” against the perfect picture we or someone else painted in our heads.
That is why DIY can help you as much as those y**tube videos of exercising we keep thinking we will do as soon as the kid(s) fall asleep. We all need encouragement to do something hard. Rest is a muscle we have been taught to abandon, and the habit of self-care does not yet exist as we go through motherhood every day.
As a Rest Coach, I provide not just coaching. My clients get support, accountability, and understanding of what they are going through. Let’s talk about how you can transform your relationship with rest this year! Visit my website rest.coach or simply email me at AR@rest.coach.
Anastasiya Rutus (she/her)
Founder of You Deserve Rest LLC
Founder of Emerald Travel Design
P.S. Referrals make this business less of a secret to those who need it the most! Please share and enjoy my sincere gratitude!
P.P.S. Are you looking for guilt-free self-care tips?